Reviewer:The Far Country
August 21, 2019 Subject:
Exploring The Extraordinary Levels of Depth, Complexity, Authenticity, And Believability That Ted Levine Finds Within The Depths of His Own Being ~ Through Which He Is Able To Bring To Life The Character of Louis Stein
Without question a stellar, show-stealing performance by Ted Levine, as he demonstrates the art of dissolving the experience of the "self" and disappearing into his interpretation of a Vietnam War veteran who is in the process of losing yet another battle within his own mind ... a man being completely consumed by the atrocities of war, but fixated upon ~ incessantly fantasizing about ~ reenlisting for yet another tour of duty, when not imagining that he is still in the war.
Levine takes us on an odyssey through a highly complex yet severely unbalanced and convoluted personality ~ in an amusing sort of way ~ who is enigmatic, interesting, bewildering, and unsoluble all at once... an individual, who after being completely psychologically reprogrammed, brainwashed, and exploited by the military as a special forces "killing machine" is finding it exceedingly difficult to readjust to a civilian lifestyle, to say the least.
Psychologically disturbed, deranged, tormented, and pathetic ~ yet intelligent and deeply sensitive ~ Levine's magical, multifaceted, protean portrayal of Louis Stein as the proverbial PTSD "poster child" is poignant, disturbing, hideous, and amusing all at the same ~ a masterpiece of stagecraft.
Ted Levine's efforts provide us with almost 100% of the necessary comedic relief that not only rescues the movie but elevates it from a superficial, freak-show spectacle of pure tragedy, violence, sordidness, and hard-core narcotics addiction ~ which admittedly is rarely depicted so graphically and realistically in movies ~ to a well-rounded, highly entertaining, genuinely unique cinematic experience.
Levine opens a whole new dimension in the movie "Bullet." His genius of being able to completely transform himself into the deeply troubled and complicated mental basket-case ~ "Louis Stein" ~ catapults this movie to stratospheric levels of realism, humor, and believability ~ pure dissipation and recreation.
In the end Louis is able to avenge the senseless murder of his brother with the one skill / attribute / vocation he is still fully competent and adept in ~ the art of war.
In my opinion Ted Levine has always been underrated and underappreciated as a supporting actor. Such a performance as this was without question deserving of a "Best Supporting Actor" nomination. The fact that he did not receive so much as an honorable mention for such an exceptional level of artistry on an original film is not only a grave injustice and travesty, but in my opinion is clear unambiguous evidence that an extremely unfair, unhealthy, and malignant bias exists within The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting membership.